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Legal Information: Federal
If I have been the victim of domestic violence, should I apply for VAWA or for a U-visa?
It depends. If you are an abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or US citizen, you are eligible to self-petition to gain lawful status under VAWA.
Victims of domestic violence who are not married to the abuser, or who have been abused by spouses who are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents, are not eligible to self-petition under VAWA, but may seek status under the U visa. You should discuss either of these options with an immigration lawyer BEFORE you apply to the USCIS. To find help, please go International/Immigration organizations under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
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